/ MODERN - From an academic standpoint,
any new style created after 1930 is considered " contemporary." The
heavy reliance of polished metals found in the Bauhaus
designs was getting old. In the 1930's, wood was
resurrected as a key element and the popularity of
plastic opened up a whole new palette of options.
While both contemporary and modern represent designs
that have cut new paths, Kichler likes to categorize
Modern pieces as those with a link to aesthetic history
from 1930 to the 1960's. Contemporary covers the
direction from that point to today.
Look for the complete absence of ornamentation, clean, uncluttered lines, single
tone finishes without texture and an overall light feel in the construction.
The following brands carry Contemporary
After the excesses of the Baroque and Rococo era and
prior to the Industrial Revolution, artists were ready
to revisit the classic antiquity of Greek and Roman
buildings. From 1750 to the early 19th century, Neoclassicism
was the predominant style of the day. The look is highly
decorative in a refined manner. Gone were the superfluous
accents and excessive design elements. The scale was
smaller and the feel was restrained.
Look for elegance, gentle curves, and straight lines all wrapped in restrained
ornamentation with simple finishing.
The following brands carry Traditional lighting:
- Transitional is to Traditional as Casual
is to Contemporary. Like Casual/Lifestyle, Transitional
is a rather new term used to define a style that
takes Traditional looks and softens them. Here again,
the interior environment is meant to convey comfort.
Transitional aesthetics run closer to classic traditional
features, but forego the fussiness found in that
classic styling. The intent is to create a warmer,
more inviting room setting.
Look for bronze or earth tone finishes, warm glass accents or diffusers and
traditional lines without heavy ornamentation.
The following brands carry Transitional lighting:
following brand carries Crystal lighting:
following brand carries Country lighting:
following brand carries Childrens lighting:
Out door only:
Monterlite (Shades only)
DECO - Named after the 1925 Exposition Internationale
des Arts Decoratifs, held in Paris, France, Art Deco
was a celebration of the new materials, mechanical
progress and new manufacturing techniques developed
at the time. Its use of color and geometric shapes
was also considered more acceptable to the general
public than the austere Bauhaus style in vogue
at that time.
Look for sharp geometric shapes,
especially triangles, shiney material,
lacquered woods, " streamlined" design elements, like zigzag, thunderbolt
and sunburst patterns.
ART NOUVEAU - The goal of the designers
involved in creating the new wave styles 1900 was to
create a totally new form, without connection to what had
transpired before. This occurred almost simultaneously across
the western world, with Antoni Gaudi in Spain, Charles Rennie
Macintosh in Scotland, Louis Comfort Tiffany in America and
the most familiar versions by an assortment of artists in
France and Brussels.
Look for sinuous lines ending in a whiplash curve,
often resembling the bud of a flower. The style
has a very organic feel, with abstract versions
of leafs and tendrils usually in asymmetrical
AND CRAFTS / MISSION / PRAIRIE – The
Industrial Revolution in England changed the way things were
made. Hand built products were replaced with typically poor
quality, mass-produced goods. Intent on returning to the
joy, honesty and beauty found in the creation of handmade
items for the home, William Morris, in 1861, hired a group
of artists and designers and created a firm to produce textiles,
wallpaper and furnishings for the home.
In the late 19th century, the heavy forms used
by Morris evolved into lighter, simpler shapes.
This change occurred as Japanese art and design
became more readily accessible. Their sparse approach was in direct
conflict with the dense, heavily furnished Victorian interiors.
This direction had a major influence on the design direction in America.
Gustav Stickley created his famous line of "Craftsman" furniture and
Frank Lloyd Wright developed his Prairie style of architecture on the
foundations of this movement.
Look for rectilinear shapes, thick, solid material sections and flat,
stylized design elements. If wood is used, it will typically be oak.
Lifestyle (Soft Contemporary) – These are
relatively new terms used to define an interior aesthetic
look based around the idea that the home should be a comfortable
haven. By creating an environment that seems unstructured
and without rigid design parameters, the homeowner can more
easily relax and enjoy each room.
Look for simple, uncluttered design elements, a sparse use of ornamentation
and warm, comfortable colorations such as brushed nickel, bronzes and
/ FOLK / PRIMATIVE - Formally trained artisans,
architects and designers have created most of the styles
we recognize today. Independently, uneducated craftspeople
have always created items using native or self-taught techniques.
The work of these people has influenced design throughout
the decades. An untrained Grandma Moses is as recognizable
as a Picasso. Workman-like tin goods are still replicated
today. Shaker furniture, African tribal ware, along with
Mayan and Pre-Columbian artifacts have all influenced contemporary
design, but are still recognizable on their own merit.
Look for rudimentary manufacturing techniques, irregular and limited
ornamentation, simple shapes and finishes.
EUROPEAN - From the 1400's Renaissance
styles, when interior design first took hold, through the
Baroque and Rococo era (1600-1760) and into the beginnings
of the Neoclassic period, European designers created interiors
that exemplified the wealth of the owner or ruler. For the
first time, order was brought into the residence and a sense
of purpose was instilled in each piece of furnishing. These
styles were found almost exclusively in the homes of the
powerful, so one-upmanship played a large part in what
was selected and used.
Look for heavy, large features, plentiful ornamentation, gilt accents,
dark, dense colorations or finishes, usually with a low-gloss level
and proportions commensurate to the taller ceilings found during this
/ COUNTRY - As America matured and residents began
to earn more money, time away from the daily routine to relax
and regroup lured people to the country. In national parks
and wooded areas, lodges were built. Typically using natural
materials, often found on-site and constructed using pioneer
building techniques, these structures featured exposed, rough-hewn
wood beam truss work and stone fireplaces. The high-style
rustic interiors complemented the outdoor activities of hunting,
fishing, nature walks and lake swimming.
Look for rough-hewn wood, natural metals with forge-like features and
heavily textured surfaces. Elements of wild game may also be found.
/ SPANISH - For reasons of climate, roofs in
Spain were flat, walls were thick stucco, painted white,
and floors were stone. Décor was typically restricted
to tiles, built into the wall and employing abstract patterns.
Borrowing from Islamic traditions, Spain was the first country
to use carpets, also displaying bold colors and patterns.
After Christopher Columbus claimed vast new lands for Spain,
Renaissance luxuries began making their way from Italy and
the east. At the same time, the artisan class, comprised
primarily of Moors in southern Spain exerted a strong influence
on art and architecture. Finally, iron ore found in the north
gave craftsmen wrought iron for decorative works. The conflagration
of these events, created a look, uniquely Spanish.
Look for intricate, detailed wrought iron panels,
leather, silver, ivory and ebony embellishments.
- The edges of a piece of glass are wrapped
in copper. This task is repeated for each and every
fragment of glass in the design, no matter how small.
Inside a bowl-shaped mold, the copper-wrapped pieces
are set, according to pattern, side-by-side and then
soldered together, one joint at a time. This painstaking
process, (some believe to be over 2000 years old)
has changed little since its popularization by Louis
Comfort Tiffany and John LaFarge in the late 1800's
and early 1900's. Often based in organic designs
employing a full palette of colors, recent patterns
have explored contemporary themes and monochromatic
Look for colorful pieces of glass, set in geometric
or organic patterns and wrapped in onyx-colored beading.
The accompanying lamp base or lamp (bulb) holding
devices are usually rich, deep bronze finishes. Many
of the contemporary pieces are finished in Brushed
- A lighting source created with function, rather
than aesthetic beauty in mind. This does not mean they are
not well designed, simply that they were created with light
output as their primary goal.
Look for familiar shapes, no ornamentation, unencumbered light output.
VICTORIAN - Borrowing heavily from Gothic, Renaissance
and Baroque ideas, the combination that became popular in 1850 in England
and twenty years later in the United States developed into a recognizable
look, all its own. Upholstery was embroidered and heavily padded and
windows were trimmed with multiple layers of draping and shading. The
proportions are massive, colors are dark and virtually every surface
is accented with ornamentation.
Look for lighting with gaslight features such as gas cocks
and glass holders with open web bottoms. Glass will typically
have a dense, decorative, etched pattern. The
proportions will typically be large
to fill the tall ceilings prevalent in the Victorian era.